On October 27, 2018, at the Phoenicia Library's Jerry Bartlett Angling Collection, “First Lady” Joan Wulff and her associate Jen Grossman took the floor to tell the story of Joan's remarkable life and career in the angling world. Hooked on fishing at a very early age, she rose to prominence as a National Casting Champion, winning competitions for both distance (161 feet!) and accuracy from 1943-1960. In the late 1970s, she and her husband, Lee Wulff, opened the Wulff School of Fly Fishing in Lew Beach on the Upper Beaverkill.
Photo credit: Mark Loete
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Welcome to Katz cast, a biweekly podcast delivering interviews, arts, culture and history from New York's Catskill Mountains. In this episode, a recording from the Jerry Bartlett Anglin collections sporting legends of the Catskill series, featuring john wolf, the first lady of fly fishing, recorded with a live audience at the Phoenicia library, October 27 2018, as made possible with a grant from the Catskill watershed Corporation. This episode is also sponsored by the central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, providing services to businesses, community organizations and local governments in the central Catskills region, follow the central Catskills Chamber of Commerce on Facebook, and sign up for a weekly email of local events at Central catskills.com. To introduce the talk here is Beth Waterman, co founder of the Jerry Bartlett angling collection in Finnish in New York. Today's event is really the culmination of many years of, of interest in in Joan Woolf and and her amazing career when you think about the history of women in the field of angling. They're not too many luminaries, you really have to go back very far in history to do ame. Giuliana. Exactly to date Dame Juliana burners, who, in 1496, published the first book on English in English on fishing. That was only 20 years after the printing press came to England. And so she is really revered, I think, but between then 1496. And now, there are not too many, and no one that I know who has the kind of career and reputation that Joan has. So I'm so pleased she can be with us today. And accompanied by her friend Jen Grossman, who has had a career in the environmental law field. And I just learned is now raising French guinea fowl. So but Jen, Jen has has really been a leader in the open space protection and preservation movement. So these two is so I'm so excited to have two women on the podium. So proud that we finally have achieved this. They're going to carry on our little conversation here. And I encourage all of you to ask questions at the end, please. So please welcome Jen and Joan wrestling. Well, it is truly an honor to be here. And I have to say that it's it's not just how much I've admired Joan and been inspired by her as an example as a fellow female angler. But I'm proud and really blessed to call you a friend and a fellow member of the woman fly fishers. We are the oldest fly fishing club in all Women's Club in the United States and founded by Julia Fairchild in 1932. Right, so so we are a proud bunch of women enjoying mostly the rivers streams and books of the Catskill region. So it's near and dear to our hearts for many reasons. And it really connects us and keeps us together as as a really important community. So let's start from the beginning. Let's let's kind of get back to how you found your roots and angling whether you were fishing for a bass on a out of a boat with your mom and dad. Yes, you've heard that. I heard it might be a bass that really got you a hook. No, it was my mother rowing the boat. Let me see if I'm clear. Could Is there a possible water somewhere Okay, good. I was four or five years old or six or whatever. And, and one night my dad who was an avid bass fisherman, and more my dad was an outdoorsman. he hunted and fished gamebirds he hunted moose. He had an outdoor store in Paterson. called the Patterson Rodan gun store. So everything in our lives with hunting, fishing and dogs. So one night, he wanted to fish for bass at Greenwood Lake, which is on the border of New York and New Jersey and invited me to go along with mother, the mother was going was rowing the boat and dad was fishing with a fly rod with bass bugs. And mother really didn't know how to row. And so all night long, he was saying, I know you're too close. I know you're too far, everyone's going on. And so I'm listening. And I'm waiting and waiting and waiting for him to catch something. And he would put out the bass bug and wait till all of the rings would disappear. And then he would pop it back toward the boat. And finally a bass took it. And for me that was, ah, this came up from this dark water aerial boom. That's what hooked me that particular move of that bass. And so he played it a bit. And then he handed the rod to me. And I didn't know what to do with it. And I didn't put any tension on it. And so finally the bug came out of the basses mouse, and I was going to mouth and I was going to cry. And he said he was going to release it anyway. So that so everything worked out well. Except that I went home at night thinking it's better to be the fisherman than the rower. And so I am, and I don't tie flies, but I've had husbands who tie flies for me. indicative. And so there was a Patterson casting club. And we lived in a suburb North Haldeman. And they met at a dock right near the house. And so my brothers were invited to practice casting every Sunday morning. And of course, my dad had taught them how to shoot a 22 and all those sorts of things. And I was left out. And I but I would watch the casting and then got intrigued by the beauty of fly casting. So one day before my dad came home from work for supper, I asked my mother if I could borrow my father's rod and try it. And she said yes. And I took it and went to the dock. I hadn't put it together well, and obviously I don't know how I was trying to cast whatever and it came apart and the tip went into the lake. My father's rod. Oh, my went crying Of course, I was 10. And the man next door, got home for dinner before my dad did and he got a rake. My mother got him to get a break. She was in trouble too. And he retrieved the tip. So when the story was told at supper time about it, my dad invited me to go to the casting club on Sunday mornings with my brothers. He had, you know, was just perfect. I just didn't anticipate that he would be happier about it. And so I became a tournament caster. I won a New Jersey sub Junior, all around championship, I have a little trophy, that big. And that as soon as you win something, it gives you the incentive to practice, which I'm sure you all know. And so that started me we had local tournaments, we had state tournament regional. And in 1943, I went to Chicago for my first national tournament in one the dry fly accuracy in the women's division. And so again, that that gave me the incentive. Also, I love the fact that we were traveling to get there. So my tournament casting went then from Well, from age 10 onward. And I was in national tournaments from 1943 to 1960. And I won 17 national titles in that time. And I had two outstanding happenings that gave me a lot of publicity. One was in 1951 I entered an event that was called the fisherman's distance fly, and it was a nine wait rod. And I want it against all male competition except there was one other woman with the nine weight because I could handle that I was strong enough nine nine weight rod was fine. Then there was another event in distance where the tackle was much heavier, where they weighed the the line the fly line in ounces to do it. And so I had a casting teacher from the club named William Taylor. And he now used to drive him to casting practice once a week, he had a candy store and he made bamboo rods in it, and he didn't drive and so on. And so I became his Gilly, he would cast his least distance lines out, maybe 150 feet, and I would pull them back in and lay them out on the platform, so they wouldn't tangle. And I finally couldn't stand it anymore. I wanted to do it. And so I tried with his tackle, and it was much too heavy, I couldn't even take the line off the water, though, the line would have been that 50 the head would have been 52 feet long. The bamboo rods weighed? Well, the one he he ended up making a rod for me because his outfit was too heavy. And the one he made for me was six and three quarter ounces. It those of you who are fishing with five weights, or you know, you've got three ounce rods, or whatever. So I love distance casting I at the time, I was a dancing teacher. And I just loved the fact that it was a full body activity, meaning you know, he just had to use every part of yourself from your fingertips to your toes in order to cast and I cast a fly 161 feet. And that gave me a lot of publicity. And the reason I did it was because when it was we were in New Jersey and Garfield Park. And when it was my turn to cast, my four year old son had to go to the bathroom. And I said, I can't you know, I can't go and so a man from the club said I'll take him. And I know that that my son did not like that man. So he did not want to go the man picked him up, put them on his shoulders. And off. They went with my son dog banging on the guy's chest was taken to the bathroom. So I think that's why I cast on Newton 61 feet that day. You're inspired, clearly inspired. Did you feel that you didn't talk about a nine way rod or even a heavier line? Do you feel that gives you more capacity to have greater distance with a heavier line? a heavier rod as you're out for pure distance? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And accuracy as well. No. Okay, no, the casting club, tournament's had, they actually have 16 events in the whole thing, accuracy and distance and plug casting and spinning eventually. But the plug casting would be like a quarter ounce accuracy. Then they had distance events for plug and fly. And I forgot what your question was just the end, the weight that of the line and the head end. That's the way of raw. So when you're casting for accuracy as a fisherman, yes, you're always going to want to be accurate. And so what you do is you take your hand and take it here and now there's your target, no matter how far away and you go to the chart. That's your accuracy. And it's bothering me that I am sitting down and I can't see your faces and you can't see mine. Can I stand up? Yes. Okay, sure. You want to Okay, all right. So tournament casting got publicity, because I want things and then in the newspapers would carry it on. And the first bit of publicity I ever had was in a magazine called the American magazine. And it was 1945. And the war was just over. And they had done come and take lots of pictures and they had a one page thing and it was titled, no flies on Joanie. Is this microphone gonna be alright, rooks? Alright? Yep. Okay. In 19, I turn, let's say 1948. I met Charles Ritz at the New York sportsman show. And he convinced me that I should go to Paris in the following spring and compete in the first international tournament after the war. And I did by and also, the background here. I was the dancing teacher. I'd started dancing and casting at the same time. And this veil now it's making me go back to high school. Which was, what are you going to be when you grow up? I don't know. What do you like to do? Dance and cast? Oh, So I went to secretarial school because at my our social level it was secretary, nurse or teacher. And that was it. So I went to secretarial school, I worked in New York City for four whole months as a junior secretary for NW air and sons in new NBC building. And I noticed that all the people on the streets of New York had crabby faces. But I commuted, and then on Saturday, that was teaching dancing. And I had a partner who was older than I was. And so she, I was in one of her dancing classes, and the one teaching tap became ill and had to stop. And so they took me to another teacher, I'd learned a step, come back and teach my class that step. So that was the beginning of teaching cat pitching casting, we're going to say, because teaching seems to be what I loved to do most. And so we, we had a dancing school on Saturday. And we finally had too many students for one day. And so this gal said her name was Eleanor egg, and she had been a national 100 yard dash champion. So again, inspiration from a woman who wasn't a fisherman, but a woman. And so she said, we either have to give up or open a full time studio. So we did 1944. And I was there until 1952. We got to have 265 pupils. She taught ballet and acrobatic, I taught captain, the tongue twirling. And one one, and I was casting and winning championships and things. And one morning, I woke up and thought, if I don't get out of that dancing school, I'm going to be happily teaching dancing at age 75. And never have done anything else. I was making $150 a week 1952. And so I decided I was going to give up dancing school and try to make a living in the fishing world. And I never have you had to be a man and you had to sell tackle. And of course, it was mostly plug casting and spinning eventually. So what I did was I went to sportsman shows and gave demonstrations. And I would do trick casting, I would take cigarettes out from between two people's mouths with a plug casting rod. And I once did that to Johnny Carson. My husband was on a show probably 1956 or something like that. And Johnny Carson was shaken like hell. And so I did that and sportsman shows then could be 10 days long. And I get paid $400 for 10 days paying all my own expenses. I traveled to places like Cleveland, and St. Louis and other places. And then in 1954, I was going to be doing a demonstration in in the sports show in St. Louis. And the MC turned out to be an old silent screen movie star named Monte blue. And I got their head of time, of course, and he said I want to talk to you. Because what I usually wore was shorts, I had a creole over my shoulder and rolled down his boots. He said, I want to talk to you about changing your costume to some kind of a dress. Well, to jump to the end of that I ended up and maybe some of you have seen a picture of me in a strapless white and silver cocktail dress, high heels, glitter in my hair. And Monty blue sold that so beautifully. He said, You know I he did all talk. I didn't do any trick casting. And I had a better response to that from than anything I ever did with I felt with casting and stuff because it showed just the grace and beauty of fly casting, and the audience responded to it. So that was another place where I got publicity. You know, if it weren't for publicity, we none of us would be anywhere. But it moved even just from entertainment to real education where you were teaching and showing how it was done not just getting a while or Yay. And even though you were getting both right. And so all through that time, I was going to sportsman shows and became friendly with Garcia Corporation, the man named dick wolf. And so we would have, they will have contests at the sportsman shows. My father was one of the guys who would be a judge, that sort of thing. A little more about my father come to think of it. He was an outdoorsman. As I said, he wrote a cast a cut an outdoor column for the Patterson Evening News, and the Patterson morning called one after the other. He was, uh, I can't think of the word that he represented sportsmen in the state, he helped start all of the clubs in the Paterson area. And it was all about birds shooting and, and hunting. I mean, in animals and birch. Where was I, so your your father, really being sort of a model mentor for you, but also allowing you and supporting you and annfield that women just daughters didn't do it. And his did. And he was proud. So after leaving the dancing world, which is such a great analogy, and also a wonderful art form, just like your casting is, it's this grace and beauty. You shifted in left and got on the road and became really a representative for casting and the Garcia company. And it was my education, traveling the country. You know, I went to Canada as well is the United States. And so I was on the road a lot. And then having been involved with, with Garcia at sportsman shows, they finally offered me a job. And so what I did for them was I gave them so many days out of the year. And they sent me around the country, the whole country, you know, to tackle shops, and I was there and I would do demonstrations and talk about products and all of that sort of thing. So I was zoll promotional work for Garcia, they were the largest tackle company in the world. They had imported the Mitchell spinning reel, which took the country by storm, which everybody old enough would remember. And fly casting fly fishing was about 2% of their total sales. But that's you know, so I did, I did some of everything. And I went into a couple of casting tournaments, fishing tournaments, I remember being on the Garcia boat in marathon in the keys, and catching a 60 pound sailfish, which was the largest that had ever been caught in that contest. And so they mounted it for me and put it in the Garcia entryway and so on. And I have that sailfish in my fishing school in Oulu beach right now. So long, bunch of years there. And you must have given a lot of credibility to the company and the products and the tackle because here was a woman that could do it. And if a woman could do it, then hey, a man could do it. Not necessarily. And they actually had another woman who was doing that kind of work, too. And so I ended up I started out, you know doing, though in the meantime, I had been married started in 58 with Garcia but I was married and 54. And I have two children from that marriage. And so we lived in Florida at the time, and I would only give them 1/3 of my time for the year because of being a mother wife and all those good things. And then well, I was working for Garcia in 1966. The phone rang one day, and it was my boss at Garcia dick Wolf, what's his name? And he said, how would you like to go? Fishing in Newfoundland for giant bluefin tuna with Lee wolf. My mind when I get seasick Newfoundland fog Lee Wolf's kind of a hermit isn't he? That kind of thing here at the same time I'm saying yes when. So that was a phone call that changed my life. Lee was making a film for the American sportsman series that any One here ever look, watch that on Sunday afternoon, right. And when Lee made films, he was made films for Garcia, by the way, but when he made films, he was always trying to teach you something. So we wanted to show that giant bluefin tuna fishing was a team sport. You didn't have to do it all alone. The crew on the boat would set up the bait and all that sort of thing. And they wanted to have a woman who had preferably never fished before, to show that it was a team sport. And they wanted her to catch a tune of five times her own weight. Well, they had chosen it chosen k star, who was a singer who sang Wheel of Fortune. Does anyone remember that? Yes. Okay. And she became ill, and couldn't go. And so ABC called Garcia said, Do you have anybody else? And my boss said, Yes, and it was me. And so, k stars Wheel of Fortune turned to me the way I always say. So I went to Newfoundland, I caught a 572 pound tuna. And Leigh and I connected. And so we then went, we got married in 67. And we then were both working for Garcia Lee's idea that fly over a little rod me yarn. That was his idea. And when the first thing we worked on when we went to work for Garcia together, and that was because he said, you know, golfers are able to practice indoors with soft golf balls. And we should be able to practice with a soft, fly line, whatever. So I went out and bought five different yarns. And we had a, you know, two pieces of a fly rod and stuck them together and tried. And we found the yarn that worked. And so that fly, Garcia named fly, oh, which is a dumb name that what it is, we were of course doing what we call the rubber chicken circuit, which is every Saturday night, you know, different clubs are having their dinners. And so Lee would talk about conservation. And I started talking about casting, you know, not really knowing anything much except how just to do it without thinking. And so we did that. And when I started standing up there in front of an audience having to say, do this, do that don't do whatever, whatever. And so I started thinking about this, about how to talk about casting, I had to end up analyzing it. And I really didn't do that until we had opened a fishing school. Now we lived in New Hampshire, and we started talking about having a fishing school. But the waters in New Hampshire are more acidic than they are in the Catskills. And so, in 1977 Lee was asked to be the speaker at a federation of flyfishers event in the Catskills and Roscoe and we went and there was somebody walking down the street and waiters, they had just done catch and release on the beaver kill. And we'd look at each other and said, this is the place to have a school. So we went home and put our house on the market. And we were in New Hampshire, in the Catskills in 1978. And we opened the school in 79 and have been there ever since. And the Catskills are the best place to fish for trout in the eastern United States. We have clean water, but we have water that is comfortable for the insects upon which trout feed and so that's what it's really all about the hatches on the on the in the Catskills are famous and you live by the hatches. You know what should be hatching this week? What should be happening next week. And so it really is the homeplace for trout fishing more than almost any other place. Yet some Yeah. Help me. Sure. Yeah. So I you know, and it's important to really mention that the Catskills as many of you know, are part of a wonderful Forest Preserve system and no other state in the country protects forest like we do we do it constitutionally, the Forest Preserve was established in the late 1800s 1895. And it's forever wild you cannot least sell or exchange the lands of that are currently owned by the New York State Dec in this forest preserve. And as Joan said, it's not just the wonderful unique watershed we have, but it's lands around the watershed, you protect your mountains, you therefore protect your rivers and those mountain areas and the wildlands our support for this intense insect activity. So we're really blessed by that and the the abundance of fresh clean water is is unmatched even within the entirety of the Northeast. Absolutely. So, so you picked a good spot we did. So more about the fishing school. Lee was famous will have should go back to say that marrying Lee introduced me to Atlantic salmon fishing. Because Lee had opened the door doors to fishing for Atlantic salmon with trout tackle. When he first started, it was all about two handed rods from Europe. And that that was considered you had to have that he took his trout tackle, even down to a six foot rod for a seven weight line and made history with with catching Atlantic salmon. He also introduced me to the adventure of of fishing for giant bluefin tuna. He was after a couple of World Records, which he did. And then I can remember, I tried to go for a record for women. And I fought a giant bluefin tuna from a 15 foot Boston Whaler in a storm off Prince Edward Island finally had to give up because the we were in this little whaler, you know, but we had been in a bigger boat. And they said, If you don't come in, we're gonna leave you here. But so there was plenty of adventure. He also was the person who introduced me to conservation, the whole conservation idea I hadn't I wasn't there wasn't I didn't belong to organizations, so forth. And so he really put me there the word for Lee wolf I would not be here he made that much of a difference in my life. So in the fishing school, now we have students coming in actually lead did on the beaver kill lead in Atlantic salmon school when we first started, and he could do it, he could describe the the wonders of the Atlantic salmon who were born in freshwater, they go to Europe, at when they're three or four years old, that little part and so on. And then they grow and eat over there, then they always come back to their native rivers to spawn. And unlike the Pacific salmon, which have to die when they come back to spawn, the Atlantic's can survive it. But it's tough. They come into the rivers starting in May, and they end up staying there through the whole rest of the year in the winter. And then they go back, they're still alive, they go back out again, the following spring. And so it was a very romantic story that he could tell about what these fish went through, and waiting for spawning time and all of that sort of thing. So we did have that on the beaver kill. And of course, he tied the salmon flies. And then we did teach people double hauls, and all of that sort of thing. And so I as the casting instructor found that I couldn't talk to people about the parts of the cast. Well, first, I had to figure out the parts of the cast. And as I said, we used to go to the rubber chicken dinners, and we would talk about conservation, I will talk about casting. And so I had to start thinking about the mechanics of casting. And then when we had a school, you know, in those days, the way the casting was taught was, watch me do it like this. Okay, putting the oldest son the student in. So I realized that we had to have something that so I could talk to people about the parts of the cast. And so I, you know, analyzed and analyzed with that fly Oh, with that little rod. All right. And I can remember that the word for fly Oh, I would not have been able to do it. But so when you know, as soon as I did something like this, what am I done? And so I had to talk about the parts that your hand, your wrist, your forearm, your elbow and your upper arm. And in those days again, even now people learn to cast with books under their arm, which is how I was told to do it to start with, and so you're restricted. We have only this much and then when I was in the cast In club at age 10, and 12, I got rid of the book, because I could only cast 35 feet well, and the targets were 50 feet. And so I learned if I lifted my arm up my elbow up and down, that I could reach those longer targets. And so that's how I'm now teaching in the school. And so I've got to talk about the three parts of the arm as they relate to the of the action of the fly line. So the beginning of the test is to get the fly line moving in the direction you want it to go. And then you're going to come to a quick stop. And what this does is it creates the loop, which I showed you earlier, the loop that's going to unroll to the target. And as it unrolls, and then you start in the other direction, you get everything moving forward, and then you make a snap. And a stop sharp stop is an acceleration to a stop is what it is in two directions. And it's the only sport that that you actually have two strokes. So you don't need as much force on the backcast as you do on the forward cast. It's not don't come back easy and snap forward. So it's two strong things, and the fly line to unroll off the tip of the rod parallel to the ground. That's your perfect back casts and forward cast, it's going to be aiming to a target and you're going to be using your hand and your thumb to go to the target. When I first started learning, it was a 10 and 210. Two, right. And the same thing, my father, I remember strapping my arm with a belt. And I felt very constricted. But it really worked. And even my wrist he said, Forget you have a wrist. Yep. This is one piece right here. And even the psychology of it, the visualization of it really helped. Yes. So how did you so by breaking down every component of the cast, you demystified this incredible talent that you have, well, then I had to put it in print. Yeah. And that was that was the hard part. And so after going through all of this, and starting to use it in the school, Nick Lyons started talking to me about writing a book and lead it. And I thought, I can't write a book. I don't know what I know. It's true, but it was. And so they finally convinced me to try. And that writing that book is what taught me having to analyze, and I would pass it by Lee, and he would challenge me all the time, and that I had to be able to prove it, what I was seeing and feeling, you know, was true. And so I finally agreed to write the book before I was ready. But it really, it gave me the foundation, from which I can explain any cast that anyone can make with any rod, that would fly cast we're talking about. And so the book came out in 1987. Yeah, I look at it now. And I see lots of things lacking. But I wrote four books all together. And the last one was to 12, called john wall's new fly casting techniques. And so what I learned in from 87 to 12, that no, and you learn, oh, every time I teach, I learned, it's just no doubt about it. And so the book came out. Nobody said anything for five years. No one knew what I was talking about, because they had never been presented in that way. And even now, you know, that, I know that it's very difficult to learn physical thing from print. But I have had a few letters. In the last year, I had an orthopedic surgeon tell me that he thought what the way I wrote it related to something and his understanding of orthopedics. And it really, it really made a difference in this casting. And so whatever it is, it's it's precise. And good casting is a matter of precision. Every single cast I make I make sure that it make that backcast stop. And that there's a little boom in there. Every single past I never, never make it sloppy cast. You know, if I make one that can't understand how I made it, whatever. And so, that book was the first book that was ever written with specifics in it. And then I got a job with fly rod and reel writing a column. Actually, I started the column in 1989 And I did it for 22 years. And that's where I again, where I learned what I needed to know, by having to write that column. It was only six times a year. But it was enough. And I see a few people yawning. So I think we need a break. I just, I just wanted to also have a Have you tell us a little bit about women in the field today and the changes that have occurred since you started? I will. Okay. We'll come back to a two minute five minute break two minute. Yep. Okay. Okay, great. Stretch your walk. Yeah. Okay, so we thought we would, we would talk a little more about how the school progressed, and that the dynamics and the demographics of the students that made up the school, and how that how you've seen that change from the time you and Lee opened the school and what you're seeing today, when we opened the school, we had male students. Occasionally, they would bring along a wife or something like that. And I think it was to prove to the wife that when they said they were going fishing, they really it was at a time, when men and women were disconnected on their their activities, you know, in free time. It took three years before a woman came to the school on her own. And she was from Missouri. And she eventually wrote a book with her husband about trout fishing, and so on. But it was really, you know, a remarkable thing. This woman came all by herself to learn how to do this. And what are you seeing today? Are you seeing more? Well, we've had a lot of one very good reason as to why women came. But you already know about that, I'm sure because it was the river runs through it. Before that, I used to have all the attractive men in the world to myself. But the River Runs Through It brought more women to our school, more women than men. For from 1990 to 1990 to 2004. Believe it or not, we had 20 people in a school we had 180 people in the season. There were more women than men all those years because of that movie. It really as you probably figured out it didn't we need another movie like that. And so it's women came together women came separately. It was it was wonderful to see. And do you notice there's a different student capacity between a man and a woman I've heard and I've seen women listen in a different way than men. And sometimes then women will catch more fish than men. That's true. women, women come and start at zero and you give them something to learn. And they will take it one step at a time. men come at zero minus x. So it takes a while to get rid of that minus eggs until they pay because you men are brought up to believe you have to know how to do everything without being taught. Is that true or not? You're not you're not going to admit it. I know. And so that's why guides would rather have women customers at you know, because they listen and will and they don't think that they could can be competitive but they don't have as much competition to start with I think whatever. So that's that's women and men in the fishing world. What about the gear, you know, in terms of tackle and rods that's universal but as I mentioned before, I started fishing I was 14 I had no choice but to buy a men's boot and stuffed it with plastic and several pairs of socks. My waders were red balls, they were way too big but if I was going to fish with my father and brother I had no choice. So well when I was young we could only wear men's hit boots. Because anything that was a full waiter I used to call them killer pants or something like that because they were rubber and what rubber and what like that waders are made of rubber Canvas, canvas and rubber. And I thought walking in like this. And so in 19 in the 1970s Royal red ball, which was a well established, firm came out with light weight waders that either men could wear or women could wear. And I have a picture of me clicking my heels in them. Conference in Chicago, yeah, because it made such a difference to women's fishing life. And now we really are having a an upsurge in the in women coming into fly fishing. And to having people go companies like Orvis and Patagonia actually making gear, clothing and so on. For women and advertising. It says we have something going on now that we've never had before for women in the field. And you always used to say, I've been waiting all my life for women that I always used to say I am saying it now. I've been waiting all my life for women to embrace the sport and for men to welcome them. And I am seeing now so I can die happy. Absolutely, absolutely. And in ensuring again, your your skill, your your experience and knowledge. the written word wasn't only the only way that you transferred all of this great information. You You did a video several times. Yeah. Well, the Lee and I did a video about the school. But then in 1997, a man named Jeff pill came to me and said he wanted to make a video of me teaching cast. So we did it. It has sold more than 50,000 copies of it. And it was 1997 when it came out. Yeah. And so now of course it's not high definition or any of those things. I'm afraid that that's it, but it is it's gradually the sales are going down because other people are doing videos. You know, you can have the Julian videos anytime you turned on your computer. But But I'm happy with it. Was that filmed up here? Or was filmed on my property? Okay, moo beach. Yeah. Okay. How long did it take to put a video like that together versus writing the book and oh, much shorter. Cuz that's, you know, that's all the thinking of the producer. Yeah. We had an indoor session, which we did in California, just you know, one day, that was about fly. Oh, that we did. Yeah. And then at my property, it was probably of five days. Okay, now we did it, and had a full crew and so on. Even had somebody who came up and made sure that I had were you wearing a cocktail dress in heels? Right. So anyway, so that I'm very glad we did that video. Yeah, if I, you know, I could do another one. Because I've learned more. Every time I teach, I learned as I said earlier, and so you can always improve on whatever you have done. But we're not going to do that. It's one other thing I would like maybe more but I call it the evolution of a fly Fisher. And it came out of the fishing school at the end of the school and trying to encourage people to go fish, immediately within the next two weeks, you have to go fish, and even on the way home, sometimes take your hand off the steering wheel and go. But I would tell to encourage them, I would try to tell them where they might look to go. And so I came up with what became my evolution of a fly Fisher, which I've written about isn't it's in my latest book, last book. And at first, when you first start out, you want to catch as many fish as you can. And then you want to catch the biggest fish. And then you want to catch the most difficult fish. So you're moving, you're grieving. And then stage four is really about thinking about the resource and you're getting into the conservation and things and join unlimited and Federation and all of the good groups like that. And then stage five is being able to fish all by yourself. They don't have to have anybody building you up tying your flies or any of those thing that you will enjoy fishing all by yourself. And then the next step is that even if you don't catch fish, you have wonderful days on a stream. That there, it's just that it's B being there, those are the two words that describe that stage. And then we come to a stage when you are mature, when you can fish through somebody else. Meaning that you can be as happy that they caught that fish as if you had caught it yourself, because you have caught enough fish, you know, the feeling. So that maturity is comes sooner with women than with men. And then I don't know if I'm up to seven or eight yet, but the only thing is to now teach your kids or teach other young people. But teaching it to young young people, is to try to produce people who care about the streams and read the resource as we do. And the eighth. The last one is just come to me in the last few years. I have a friend whose name is David Goodman. He has a house on the beaverkill. And he was fishing, he will totally in the salmon fishing, you can only catch so many catch and release so many Atlantic salmon in a day. All right. And so instead of stopping when he had caught his four fish, he would cut the hook off, cut the bend of the hook off. So he was still casting fish would still hit the fly. He just wasn't getting to play that play them. And so this was brought home to me this whole idea of of not having full hog a couple of months ago, he was on to the Rock Hill. And the water was high. And he was I walked long was sure while he was casting, he was using a two handed six wait rod. He had a big bushy salmon fly on the beaverkill with the hook cut. And he was casting 90 feet and presenting a fly under an overhanging hemlock branch. It was incredible. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in casting. And every time that line unrolled, I felt that in my soul. So I was casting through him. And so here you know, to be this old and to have a new kind of thrill is quite wonderful. And another thrill has happened which has to do with women. And it is that there's a young girl in California named Maxine McCormack, and she was written up in the New York Times about a month ago, many of you saw that was the fact that the New York Times gave her that much space is never happened. Anything like that never happened before. And this girl is 14 years old. And she recently won international championship in Europe. And in one of the events she cast a fly 161 feet. You remember that that's your that's my age 14. Now I won't be around to see what she does it age 30 what got 34 when I did it, but I would love to have a session with her using her tackle that she would be using graphite. I use that heavy bamboo six quarter thing you know, so if we had a session would be with her tackle. And so I'm finding it harder to climb up and downstream banks, harder to tie leader knots and flies and seeing flies on the stream. But I'm still thrilled by the strength of trout or any other fish and I love salmon fishing tarfon fishing bonefish I love tarpon fishing because tarpan make you feel so small, you know and to jump in if I want to tarpan to jump three times and get off playing them gets to be you know pretty rough after a while. The largest tarping I've ever caught has only been 125 pounds and the woman's record is about 135 140 now something like that on 12 pound test bonefish I've never really done much for me they do run very fast and so on. But I like jumping fish better than I like running fish I guess the other fish that saltwater fish is permitted. And they're the smart ones. I have only caught a couple of permit and only in the five and six pound error, I really wanted to catch at least a 15 pounder before I quit. And I have not yet. But we're hoping to go to Florida this winter, for maybe your last trip, and maybe I can get to a permit it permit, you have to have so many opportunities with permit that you finally learn how to catch them is how I understand that whole game. And so I just, that's the other trouble with being a woman is you have too many responsibilities. You can't say, Hey, I'm going off for a week and a half, take care of the kids. And so I've never had just unlimited time to fish. You know, I've been around long enough, mid enough years. So you can add it all up. And it's a lot, but it was never at one time. Although while we did go to Iceland, in the early 70s. We were there for three whole weeks. Lee caught 60 salmon and I caught 30 salmon in that period of time. Atlantic salmon in Iceland. And of course the the Atlantic salmon are in trouble because of commercial fishing and all sorts of things. So if you could, if you care about Atlantic salmon fishing go as often as you can now, whatever we have, is there. The striped bass are invading the mirror machine. And others you know, because of climate change, the warmer water is bringing new fish where they never used to be. And so I think that I have said everything I need to say on my own. Well, before we open it up for some questions, I wanted to maybe tap into some of your favorite spots. You mentioned a whole whole bunch of fish. So let's start with the trout. Where Where do you like to fish? Let me go back to the whole bunch of fish. Okay, people used to ask me what my favorite fish was. And I used to say, I give an answer. I'd say Atlantic salmon fishing or tarpon fishing. Okay, now I say whatever I'm fishing for. Because they all have different characteristics. All different you never fishing in ugly places. I only fish with clean water. Right? It's always beautiful. And so and so my favorite place used to be and now my favorite places wherever I am. I hope you all get to that point. Yes. Oh, absolutely. So So yeah, if you're fishing here in this area, what would be one of your favorite spots to to look for a trout? Well, it's going to be on the beaver kill. Okay. And it's going to be either on mountain pool? Yes. Or that's our home waters for our fishing cloud beautiful spot in front of the oak. The other thing I haven't even mentioned is the the Catskill fly fishing center in museum. I was a founder on the last living founder there were 13 of us. And when we first moved to the Catskills, Elsie darvey was still alive. And she and her husband used to fish in Nova Scotia every year for Atlantic salmon, and they had a small museum. And LC thought we should have a museum in the Catskills. And so that started with the fishing center and museum. And she died, I think in 81, something like that. And we really started the museum that year. So we're up to 230. Yeah. 30 some years, whatever. There's some great water to fish there right in front of them. Yes, right. Yeah. Yeah. And catch and release is the other thing that Lee introduced to all of us, Lee raise the bar. He he brought sport into the sport and so on. He just never one of the things I learned from him is if you catch three fish on the same fly, change the fly, learn something, find out what else? Well, Ted, so he always made the challenge in our sport, very, very big thing. And the catch and release. He first wrote about it in 1939. He said game fish is too valuable to be caught only once. And in 1939 people were eating what they caught Of course. And so it took god 1939 just figure out how many years it took before that started to be important enough for areas to be set aside. Catch and Release only. Absolutely. should have some questions get so we have time for refreshments. Okay. Yes, Jody, you're your husband Lee is the person who is reputed to have invented the concept of the fishing vest. Yes, he's so the first one in about 19. He did the first flies with the hair wings. And, and the fishing vest in 2030 and 31. Those were the years. By the way, I have another husband, Ted. Ted, the reason that we got together to start with is because when Ted was in law school, he spent his summers with Lee wolf flying in Newfoundland and Labrador in in the Super Cub. And he was a photographer freely. And so we can live together with Lee's stuff in the house yet, and he's not jealous. And, and so he, and he also worked for the was in western government. When the Clean Water Yeah, the ETA started under Nixon. And he said he was one of what 16 lawyers. Well, you ended he went on, he ended up having an area to himself. So stand up and just tell her Hello. I flew with Lee Wolf and did the series with Kurt Gali, for CBS and NBC, or wider sport. So I was lucky because I didn't have to do all the casting. I just took pictures. It worked out very well. After I finished my law school at Columbia Law School, I worked for a law firm Cadwallader in New York City Wall Street practice. But in the 60s, I turned environmentalist, and I was hired by the Justice Department to form a new environmental enforcement section. And I started that with Stewart Udall, who had Secretary of Interior caught ahold of me and said, I was working for the wrong agency. And he hired me to be a water counsel for the federal government. And I was responsible for writing some of the Clean Water Act provisions, especially about Oil Pollution, which are very important. And setting up the Environmental Protection Agency in 1956, which President Nixon stole with an executive order, you see a lot of that going on. The Republicans built the agency. But then that agency was started with 16 people. And within six months, we had 1600 people and help form agencies in every state in the United States. And I feel that that simple political gesture of requiring states to have independent pollution control agencies free of federal involvement, and you see the play right now in California of fighting the federal government, because California has to go further in their laws, then the generality of environmental protection regulation. Now, I got to stop here because I'm getting to be political. We're really too close to the election. Ted if you won't, if you don't mind. Just last month, Joan was honored at the anglers club. The anglers club is the oldest all men's fishing club in New York City does not allow women However, there's only been 11 honorees. The first woman is right here given in recognition of someone who has rendered outstanding service and conservation, IQ theology and the sport of angling. This is the the Anglos club Medal of Honor. And, Ted, you told the great story that night. Would you mind repeating that now? Well, I when Joan told you about the shows, and we traveled together from the local airport, whenever we travel, we're going to Denver to Detroit. And I always sit at the window, because I like to look out and join Jonah always says that they are IO, like the comfort of leaning and so forth. And we signed up and the empty seat between us. honored a young man who came on and he's about 20 to 25 years old. And the conversation goes like this between Jones and this young man like Where are you going? And he says, Well, I'm going to Denver. What are you doing? I while I'm meeting my brother, he's a fisherman. And he I don't know a thing about fishing. We're fine. I thought, Oh, my God. From from Denver, to get to Denver from Detroit is about three hours and maybe 1000 miles, you know. So all the way through, I hear snap cast. Our cast my hands on his arm, teaching, and I'm way out. The hostess, this young lady who'd seen seats, everyone asked this young man, what was that woman talking about? Was that on religion? I think it was religion. But we were catching fish. But I all I let them all go. And I don't know what they were telling you something about Joe, she just loves to teach. One more question. And then we must adjourn because the library closes in three, I wonder if you have a story or two about fishing on the surface since we're here. No, I only fished on the surface once or twice, and once was when I was a teenager. And I came up with my father and two other members of the casting club. And I don't think any of us caught a fish. But we came and stayed in whatever. And I just remember trying to get to sleep before the other guys started snoring. Always. Thank you so much. We are really honored. Just to close and Jonah and I talked about this. And there's so many folks in the audience that are here because of Joan, then because of your love and admiration and respect for this wonderful terrain and environment we're in but realize the capacity you all have. We're the hook and bullet community. We'd like to fish we hunt, we love the hiking, we out the doors, and we vote whatever party you vote for vote for conservation vote for protection. It's really our opportunity now to get out and really make a difference in whatever kind of work or background you have. If you enjoy what we are here today. And honoring and respecting we really want to make sure it's here for the next several generations. And and it's up to us now and we have capacity as a unified front. So don't just use your rod, use your pen, talk to your legislators make a difference really. I mean, this is going to protect something that's precious to us all advocacy. Yeah, that's one of our missions. Yes. Thank you so much. That's quite stairs. Cats cast is a production of silver Hello audio. Please don't forget to subscribe, and we'll see you again in two weeks. I'm Brett Barry. Thanks for listening.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai